FEMA - Situation Report 5: Hurricane Fran

Situation Report
Originally published
Reporting Period: 7 a.m. EDT, September 8, 1996 to 7 a.m. EDT,
September 9, 1996


The heavy rains from Hurricane FRAN resulted in major river flooding in eastern North Carolina, in west central Virginia and in parts of the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. River flood warnings remained in effect through much of the weekend.

In North Carolina major river flooding is occurring on the Cape Fear, Tar and Neuse Rivers. Near record floods will likely occur on the Haw, Neuse and Tar Rivers and on Crabtree Creek. These rivers will return to normal flow within the next few days. Flood warnings also remain in effect for the following additional rivers: Lumber, Little Pee Dee, Great Pee Dee, Waccamaw, Eno, Fishing Creek, Yadkin and Little. The slower responding rivers in the eastern part of the State will remain above flood stage for the next five days.

North Carolina State Parks remain closed until further notice.

Flood warnings are in effect for most forecast points in Virginia where up to 15 inches of rain fell in some areas. The north and south branches of the Potomac, Shenandoah and Rappahannock Rivers have crested and are now falling. River levels are still high and should recede within their banks by Monday. The Potomac crested in Washington late Sunday, September 8, at levels slightly higher than those experienced in the January, 1996, flood.

On the Dan River in Virginia, flood stage has exceeded the 31.8 ft. record and crested near 33 feet on Sunday. On the Roanoke River moderate flooding has occurred with levels 10 to 15 feet above flood stage. Moderate flooding is occurring on the James River.

As much as 14 inches of rain fell in parts of the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. For many of the 12 affected counties, this is the fourth flood event this year. The South Branch Potomac River peaked at 34.99 feet, a level exceeding the 100-year recurrence interval and greater than the flood of January, 1996. Other rivers in the area peaked at levels exceeding either the 50-year or 100-year recurrence intervals.

Elsewhere, in western and central Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio, small stream flooding continues but most streams are back within their banks.

Authorities in the Caribbean are monitoring Tropical Storm HORTENSE carefully. (See details on Tropical Storm HORTENSE below in Section 3.) The Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico met with the FEMA Caribbean Division Director and later held a press conference. The Governor announced that schools and non-essential government agencies will remain closed on Monday, September 9. The Governor added that shelters will open throughout Puerto Rico in case they are needed.

The Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands spoke with the FEMA Region II Response and Recovery Division Director, stationed in St. Thomas, to discuss precautionary measures for the islands.


As of the afternoon of September 8, the confirmed death count was 26.

North Carolina: 14
South Carolina: 7
Virginia: 2
West Virginia: 2
Pennsylvania: 1


A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands westward through Puerto Rico. At 8 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time, September 8, the center of Tropical Storm HORTENSE was about 105 miles south-southwest of St. Croix or about 145 miles southeast of St. Thomas and St. John. Coordinates were 16.2 north and 64.4 west. HORTENSE was nearly stationary but was expected to resume a west to west-northwest motion. Maximum sustained winds are about 60 m.p.h. Tropical force winds extend outward 85 miles to the east of the center. Some increase in strength is possible in the next 24 hours.


A. Jurisdictions Affected

B. Impact on Individuals

C. Impact on Businesses

D. Utilities

(1) Water Treatment Plants

There are several plants damaged or without power.

(2) Electric Power Generation

The number of customers now without power is slightly over one million. On September 8, 1996, ESF-12 reported the following pertinent data.

Virginia Power has made substantial progress in restoring service to the thousands of customers left without power. The total number of Virginia customers without power is now about 181,000. The total number for North Carolina outages is about 729,000 customers.

Carolina Power and Light reports that 383,000 customers are still without electric power. This is down from the peak of 670,000 customers at the height of the storm.

Duke Power, in North Carolina, reported yesterday that 120,000 customers were still without power. Outages remain for the following hardest hit areas: Durham, Greensboro, Burlington, and Chapel Hill. At the peak of the storm, approximately 330,000 customers were without power. Duke Power reports that it will probably be late next week before the hardest hit areas will have power restored.

North Carolina Power in North Carolina only reported 4,000 customers left without electricity in the areas of Roanoke Valley and Williamston.

(3) Gas Pipelines

(4) Telephone and Telecommunications

(5) Sewage Treatment Plants

E. Road/Transportation Status

(1) Airports

(2) Railways

Amtrak Florida trains continue to be suspended until further notice, depending upon CSXT's resumption of service on routes from Washington to Florida. Amtrak emphasized that passenger safety and convenience are paramount. Thus, Amtrak planned no services in the affected areas for Sunday, even as some routes dry out and are ready for service.

Three sections of rail line remain closed: Warsaw to Clinton, Norlina to Raleigh and Wallace to Wilmington.

(3) Interstate Highways

(4) Bridges

(5) Other

F. Housing Status

G. Other Critical Facilities


North Carolina

On September 6, 1996, President Bill Clinton authorized Federal Disaster Assistance under the Stafford Act for ten counties in the State of North Carolina. The counties are Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Cumberland, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Robeson and Sampson. The Federal disaster number is FEMA-1134-DR. Governor Hunt requested this Disaster Declaration on September 5, 1996. The incident period is from September 5, 1996 and continuing. The Federal Coordinating Officer for this relief effort is Mr. Lacy Suiter.

Direct Federal Assistance - Via amendment to FEMA-1134-DR (issued September 6, 1996), FEMA has authority to provide 100% Federal funding for eligible costs for all North Carolina counties for the first 72 hours following this declaration.

Individual Assistance - Via amendment to FEMA-1134-DR (issued September 6, 1996), the following counties have access to Individual Assistance Programs: Alamance, Carteret, Chatham, Craven, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Nash, Orange, Pamlico, Person, Vance, Wake, Warren, Wayne, and Wilson.

Almost 1,000 individuals in North Carolina had registered for disaster assistance as of 11 a.m. September 7 through FEMA's toll-free number (1-800-462-9029).


On September 6, 1996, President Clinton also authorized Federal Disaster Assistance under the Stafford Act for the State of Virginia. The Federal disaster number is FEMA-1135-DR. Governor Allen had requested this Disaster Declaration on September 5, 1996. The incident period is from September 5, 1996 and continuing. The Federal Coordinating Officer for this relief effort is Mr. Robert Gunter of Region III.

Direct Federal Assistance - For the first 72 hours following this declaration, FEMA has authority to provide 100% Federal funding for eligible costs for the entire Commonwealth of Virginia.

Individual Assistance - Via amendment to FEMA-1135-DR (issued September 6, 1996), the independent Virginia cities of Danville, Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Waynesboro, and the counties of Augusta, Halifax, Madison, Pittsylvania, and Rockingham, already designated for Direct Federal Assistance, are now eligible for Individual Assistance Programs.

The National Processing Service Center in Denton, TX, will process applications from North Carolina. The National Processing Service Center at Mount Weather will process applications from Virginia.


Precautions for Tropical Storm HORTENSE

In anticipation of Tropical Storm HORTENSE, FEMA Region II continues to coordinate its activities with the Caribbean Division and the St. Thomas Disaster Field Office (DFO). A FEMA II liaison is at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, FL. The ERT-A's in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands and the Region II Regional Operations Center remain on stand-by as a precaution. The Response and Recovery Division Director, the Territorial Coordinating Officer (TCO) and the Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO) will be flying over the territory to assess the condition of the temporary (blue) roofing.

The Governor and FEMA authorities met to discuss precautionary measures in anticipation of Tropical Storm HORTENSE. The TCO and the ERT-A team leader were co-located at the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) St. Croix EOC. Also, a joint FEMA-VITEMA team is located in the St. Thomas EOC.

Shelters on St. Croix and St. Thomas were consolidated into one per island. Airports that were closed are scheduled to resume operations at 6 a.m. on September 9.

Aftermath of Hurricane FRAN

The offsite radiological preparedness for the State of North Carolina and Brunswick and Hanover Counties, NC, is judged adequate to provide reasonable assurance that authorities can and will take appropriate action to protect the health and safety of the citizens during an incident at Brunswick Nuclear Power Plant near Southport, NC. This is the conclusion reached after an assessment of field investigation data which the FEMA Region IV Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program Team gathered during the period September 6-8 and on information State and County officials provided the Team. The Carolina Power & Light Company operates this facility.

Beginning September 7, FEMA Region IV ROC coverage will be from 7:00 a.m. until midnight. From midnight until 7:00 a.m. there will be only communication coverage.

The authority to issue operational directives in support of FEMA-DR-1134 has transitioned from the EST to the management officials of the National Emergency Response Team (ERT-N) operating in North Carolina. Operational directives include mission assignments, resource support, and the tactical control of Federal assets used in supporting North Carolina relief operations.

ERT-N officials will issue directives from the Interim Disaster Field Office or submit their requirements to the ROC in Atlanta until a permanent DFO is set up. Currently part of the ERT-N is moving to the Interim DFO while the Operations Section remains in the State Emergency Operations Center.

The Interim Disaster Field Office has been set up at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, in the Jane S. McKimmon Building.





1) Defense Coordinating Element

Ft. Bragg, Fayetteville, NC, is the principal Mobilization Center for receiving and distributing disaster relief resources. Fort Jackson, Columbia, SC, will serve as the interim staging area.

The DoD Emergency Operations Center at Forces Command, Ft. McPherson, Atlanta, GA, and Hqs, First United States Army, Ft. Gillem, Atlanta, GA, remain operational on a 24-hour basis.

2) Operations Support Branch

a. ESF #1 (Transportation)

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) personnel (Department of Transportation/ESF#1, Region 4) are staffing the Regional Operations Center (ROC) in Atlanta, GA, while FAA and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) personnel staff a new interim Disaster Field Office in Raleigh, NC. However, at this time, no one has issued mission assignments for transportation assistance.

b. ESF #2 (Communications)

c. ESF #7 (Resource Support)

The address of the District Field Office is 3109 Capital Blvd., Raleigh, NC.

The following items were sourced and placed.

20 portable toilets for the Dixon Elementary School 2 portable toilets for Topsail Beach waste removal for 6 buses in Raleigh

The following items were sourced.

rental of 5 dump trucks, 5 forklifts and 5 front end scoop loaders 4 hotel rooms

3) Infrastructure Support Branch (IS)

The Infrastructure Support Branch continues to monitor all activities of IS ESF representatives: ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering); ESF #12 (Energy); and the FEMA Infrastructure/Public Assistance Officer.

a. ESF #3 (Public Works & Engineering)

b. ESF #12 (Energy)

c. Public Assistance

With the completion of the initial two Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs) in Calvert and St. Mary's Counties, MD, joint PDA teams turned their attention to Garrett and Allegheny Counties. Leadership of the Maryland PDAs transferred to the Region VIII Management Team on September 8.

Five joint PDA teams staffed from the West Virginia Disaster Field Office (FEMA-1132-DR-WV) met on September 8 for a briefing and assignments. The assessments will begin today, September 9.

4) Human Services Branch

a. ESF #6 (Mass Care)

Beginning September 8, ESF-6 at the DFO has become the primary reporting point for shelter information in North Carolina.

As of midnight, September 9, the American Red Cross has 41 shelters open in the six-state area affected by Hurricane FRAN as well as in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Other statistics are as follows.

32,327 persons sheltered to date 42,974 meals served to date 11 fixed feeding sites used 96 mobile feeding units used

At noon on September 8, the ARC lifted its Disaster Welfare Inquiry Moratorium. Immediate family members seeking information on relatives in all the affected areas may contact their local Red Cross chapter.

The ARC has completed damage assessments on 3,389 dwellings.

b. ESF #11 (Food)

c. Voluntary Organizations

In North Carolina, plans are underway to establish an ARC Operations Headquarters at the Teamsters' Union Hall, Colfax, NC. The ARC is responsible for coordinating all the activities of the voluntary organizations active in disasters.

d. Donations

FEMA Donations continues to coordinate its activities with the Movement Coordination Center (MCC) to report and track to the extent possible information on convoys of incoming trucks with donated goods.

A press release encouraging the public to call the central North Carolina Donations coordination hotline was released yesterday. The number is 888-786-7601.

The State of Virginia has established a Donations Coordination Center and a toll-free number for in-kind donations for the Virginia relief effort. The number is 800-747-8920.

ARC will receive immediate referrals of in-kind or cash donations.

In addition, the Adventist Community Service will accept donations at 800-253-3000.

e. Individual Assistance

5) Emergency Services Branch

a. ESF #4 (Firefighting)

b. ESF #8 (Health & Medical)

All three Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) and the Medical/Management Support Unit (MSU) have been redeployed.

c. ESF #9 (Urban Search & Rescue)

Search operations are 100% complete at North Topsail Beach, NC, as of early evening, September 8.

The IST Team Leader has met with local officials to review the results and to ensure that the USAR mission has been successfully completed.

VA-TF1 (Fairfax County, VA) and MD-TF1 (Montgomery County, MD) will be demobilized at noon on September 9. IST-A will be demobilized at 2:00 p.m. the same day.

d. ESF #10 (Hazardous Materials)


Communities not participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which have had flood hazards identified are not eligible for having Hazard Mitigation Grant Projects in their jurisdictions.

NFIP participating communities must assure that substantially damaged structures (where the value of the damage is greater than half its market value) be elevated above the base flood level for residential structures, or be certified as floodproof for nonresidential structures. This is to comply with their local flood damage prevention ordinance. Technical assistance and support to local communities is provided by FEMA via damage assessment surveys, various information from field teams, and information provided back through the Federal Insurance Administration from adjusters.

The EST Mitigation activities for this operational period are as follows.

Region IV ordered two GIS teams for data acquisition of building damages and evaluation of subsequent code compliance. EST-MIT is the point of contact for the DAEs to arrange travel to the North Carolina interim DFO.

EST-Mitigation (MIT), ESF-05-MIT, and Craig Wingo, Mitigation Deputy Director, called the mitigation technical liaison to the DFO, to discuss the accuracy of the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for the North Carolina coastal counties. He expressed concern that, due to the erosion from storms BERTHA and FRAN, the A/V zone boundaries shown on the FIRMs are now 1000 ft. seaward of the shoreline. This is a major issue regarding appropriate mitigation actions the communities would undertake.

Established and transmitted the electronic data files for National Processing Service Center (NPSC) use in establishing whether structures and addresses are within Coastal Barrier Resource Act (COBRA) areas. Structures in COBRA areas that are substantially damaged are ineligible for any federally-backed reconstruction funding, including future flood insurance policies.

Some raised concerns are regarding the accuracy of the COBRA units' delineations due to the base map data (street maps data) used for the electronic file transmittal. EST-MIT will spearhead an investigation into the data generated and shipped to the NPSC.

MT, Flood Insurance Administration (FIA), and a private adjusters' association are cost sharing a study of the coastal storm surge inundation limits in the coastal impacted areas.

MT will provide NFIP mapping engineering resources from the Technical Evaluation Contractor to start in Region IV on Monday, September 9. This is to provide continuity of engineering review of mapping actions during Regional Staff deployment responding to Hurricane FRAN.


Thomasville MERS Detachment has 38 personnel deployed to Raleigh, NC, and 2 to the FEMA Region IV ROC in Atlanta, GA, in support of Hurricane FRAN.

Maynard MERS Detachment has 24 personnel deployed to Virginia. Members of the Bothell, Denton and Denver MERS Detachments have personnel deployed on the ERT-N team.

The Mobile Air Transportable Telecommunications System (MATTS) has 2 persons deployed to Raleigh, NC, supporting the FEMA disaster recovery system.



As of the declaration date for NC, staff in the Atlanta ROC and the Raleigh DFO have responded to many media requests for coverage assistance and information. Because of spotty telephone service in the damaged areas, field personnel have visited and briefed radio and television stations throughout the declared areas.

Staff helped arrange coverage of USAR team work that was uplinked for television. It prepared news releases to emphasize teleregistration, safety upon return to structures, electric generator hazards and temporary housing.

The Joint Information Center (JIC) operates in the temporary DFO.


Community relations personnel met with the State Coordinating Officer and staff to develop a strategy for community relations activities. Staff began planning for deployment of additional field staff to the impacted counties. Staff also met with the Mayor of Wilmington, NC, and other local officials in the affected coastal area.